How will Michigan handle Maryland’s talented passing attack?

When discussing the top wide receiver units in college football, there are certain teams that come to mind: Ohio State, USC and Texas, to name a few.

But how about this one…? Maryland.

Dontay Demus Jr., Rakim Jarrett, Jeshaun Jones and Jacob Copeland form one of the deepest and most talented wide receiver groups not only in the Big Ten, but throughout the entire country. That group will be on full display this weekend when the Terrapins travel to Ann Arbor to take on the No. 4-ranked Michigan Wolverines (12 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app).

“[Michigan is] going to face a team this week in Maryland that will pressure their secondary,” FOX Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt said. “Maryland has one of the best cores of receivers in all of college football, and it goes very much under the radar.”

Klatt explained why he’s excited to see how the Wolverines deal with adversity in their first true test of the season on the latest episode of his new podcast, “The Joel Klatt Show.

“You don’t know as a team what you’re going to be until you face adversity,” Klatt said. “The biggest question mark I have for Michigan heading into this game is their defense.”

Possible Upset… Maryland vs. Michigan

Joel Klatt explains why be believes Michigan’s defense will be tested by Maryland’s offense on Saturday.

The Wolverines have held opposing offenses to just 17 combined points through the first three weeks of the season, but they have not faced an opponent with anywhere near the talent-level of Maryland. 

Michigan’s first three opponents of the 2022 season — Colorado State, Hawaii and UConn — are a combined 1-9 and have been outscored by a total of 432-132 heading into Week 4.

Maryland, on the other hand, comes in sporting a perfect 3-0 mark while outscoring opponents by an average of 21 points per contest.

Junior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa has been outstanding through three games, leading the Big Ten in completion percentage (77.3%), while also ranking in the top-four in the conference in passing yards (895), touchdowns (six) and efficiency (180.7).

The wide receiver quartet of Demus, Jarrett, Jones and Copeland have combined to haul in 34 catches for 527 yards and five scores through three games.

“I firmly believe that [Michigan’s] defense is going to be put into a position where they feel pressure and are stressed for the first time this year, and I can’t wait to see that happen,” Klatt said. “They don’t have the individual pass rushers that they had last year.”

Michigan lost both Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo to the NFL and have been challenged with finding a core group that can help make up for that lost production. Five different players, including former five-star standout Eyabi Anoma — who started his collegiate career at Alabama — have recorded one sack this season, which leads the team. 

Hutchinson, who was the second overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft to the Detroit Lions, totaled 4.5 sacks through the team’s first three games last season.

Other pass rushers who should be on the field for the Wolverines on Saturday include Kris Jenkins, Mason Graham, Mike Morris, Jaylen Harrell and Braiden McGregor.

“They feel like they have a core that is good and can replace the production,” Klatt said about the Wolverines’ pass rushers. “But questions really remain on the defensive side.” 

One of those questions surrounds Michigan safety Mike Sainristil, who has played just three games on defense at the collegiate level since making the switch from wide receiver during the offseason. The senior recorded the team’s first sack of the season in the opener against Colorado State and is tied for second on the team with two tackles for loss. He will play a large role in how this Michigan defense handles Maryland’s impressive group of pass catchers.

“I can’t wait to see him because this is going to be real stress and real pressure,” Klatt said of Sainristil. 

“For the first time this season, we are going to see who [Michigan] actually are.”

Maryland Terrapins



Michigan Wolverines


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